Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Sri Venkataramana Temple at Car street






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Vekatramana temple in Car street in Mangalore is a 300 years old temple, located in the center of the city, and easily accessible. Sri Vekataramana  is the deity of this temple. The temple is run by the Gowda Saraswath Brahmin Community (GSB).  Lord Venkatramana or Venkateswara is worshipped here. Instead of a stone image, the Lord is in a metal icon with a lot of artistic decoration with flowers and silver images. The main attraction here is the Ratha yatra or Car festival that happens every year in between the month of January and February. The festival spans six days ending with Holi. Prasadam is served to all devotees who visit the temple on the first five days. It is celebrated as Lord Venkatraman's marriage during the Car festival. One should personally see the festival to get the real feel of the celebrations and the grandeur.

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Sri Venkatramana Temple is centrally located in Mangalore city in the west coast of Karnataka with a history of more than 300 years. Car street in Mangalore is famous because of this temple and ardent devotees and tourists visit the temple to seek the Lord's blessing. The old temple was renovated recently during the year 2012. The layout of the temple was designed and constructed in such a way that the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Veera Venkatesha is visible straight from Car street. Devotees are blessed with a clear view of the lord even from outside.

The temple is also famous for the festivals - Kodial Teru (Traditional Mangalore Car Festival) and Sharada Mahotsav. Another attraction for the devotees coming here from far is the delicious food available around the temple.  One need not go far in search of a clean and tasty meal. It's always a happy feeling to be here. Lord Venkatramana is a popular deity of GSBs going by the number of temples dedicated to Him both in Karnataka and Kerala. In Kerala, He is affectionately known as Shri Venkatachalapati and the temples, Shri Tirumala Devaswom, the very name of Tirupati, the abode of the Lord.

The temple is efficiently managed by the volunteers of GSB community members. Lord Sree Veera Venkatesha (incarnation of Lord Vishnu) is the supreme deity, the temple has a glorious history of more than 300 years; being closely associated with Sri Kashi Math Samsthan since inception. In the early 17th century, a shrine of Lord Venkataramana was constructed with just a garbha gudi.  The images worshiped were bronze idols of Srinivasa ensemble.  In 1804 Lord Veera Venktesha was installed as the presiding deity.  Lord Sri Venkataramana is the predominant deity of the Gowda Saraswat Brahmin Community. The main attraction here is the Ratha yatra or  the traditional Car festival that happens in between the month of January and February. The festival spans six days ending with Holi. The celebrations and grandeur is worth witnessing.




The contribution of the Gowda Saraswat Brahmin community to the society is immense and admirable. There are several temples managed and professionally run by them with sincerity and devotion to Lord Vishnu. Majority of GSBs are found in west coastal region of India, mainly Goa, Karnataka and parts of Kerala. Their mother-tongue being Konkani, they also speak Kannada and Tulu in Karnataka and South Kanara and Malyalam in Kerala.

The Sri Venkatramana temple has a rich and varied  history.  Earlier Vaishyas were the main residents of this area and when the Portuguese invaded the place, the Vaishyas had to move southwards. This is how they settled in Mangalore South Kanara and Kerala. Sri Venkatramana was the chief deity of the Vaishyas and the temple was built by members of their community. The main deity has other deities along side like Sridevi and Bhoodevi. These deities are made of Panchaloha – that is, five metals were used to create the statues. Lord Venkatramana holds the chakra in his right hand and the shankh on the left hand.

The goddess Sridevi is a symbol of prosperity and wealth and Bhoodevi is an embodiment of sanctity, prakriti and success. The temple was built during the seventeenth century and the main idol was erected at the primary sanctum of the temple. The temple also generously houses other deities like Veera Vittala, Garuda Vahana Shri Gopalakrishna, and Shri Mula Venkatramana. The statue of Naga Devata is present in the temple’s outer circle. The whole surrounding gives a feel of calmness and spirituality. The spiritual atmosphere helps recharge your mind, body and soul.

According to a legend, an ascetic called Bairagi, a migrant from out visited Mangalore in 1804. Normally those days any migrant or stranger from outside would  take shelter in Car Street. The Bairagi stayed there and used to worship a metal image of Lord Venkateswara. The people, particularly devotees of Lord Vishnu were fascinated and would gather around his place, keen to see the idol and took part in the worship. Later it became difficult to manage the crowd so he shifted his camp to Lower Car street. GSB community members being keen worshippers of Lord Vishnu, approached a prominent  and a wealthy businessman who was a respected person from their community,  known as Sowkar Thimmappa Pai to convince and procure the idol from Bairagi, and build a temple to house the statue. They were successful in their efforts. And a small shrine was built. The people of the locality most of whom were from the GSB community started worshiping in this shrine. Ever since it was established, Gowd Saraswat Brahmins community members are  devotedly maintaining the temple.

The temple follows Madhwa Vaishnava tradition of Saint Madhwacharya (Srimad Ananda Thirtha). He preached that Lord Vishnu is the Supreme Brahma and Lord of the Universe. Lord Venkataramana or Venkateswara being an incarnation of Lord Vishnu has been worshiped as presiding deity in this temple.

There are other metal icons of Lord Vittala, Goddess Lakshmi, Ganesha, Moola Venkataramana, Gopalakrishna, Hayagriva and Snake gods. The latest additions seems to be Hanuman (Mukhyaprana) and Garuda. The flagpole covered with silver looks majestic and attractive.

The idol about two feet in height is made of Panchaloha (five metals namely Gold, silver, copper, brass and lead) as done in Vijayanagara temple architecture. It is holding sword in right hand as such it has the prefix ‘Veera’ (warrior). This main idol, adorned with diamond crown, leaves the visitors and devotees with an unforgettable divine vibration. A sense of fulfillment of being blessed by the Lord.

Shree Veera Venkataramana Temple being in the midst of the city is easily reachable by city buses from Hampankatta or  by autorickshaws. It’s normally a busy  area with 
activity, crowded with shops, food stalls and flower market nearby. If you visit Mangalore, Sri Venkataramana temple at car street is worth visiting along with the other more famous and ancient temples in South Kanara.



Also read:   Mangaladevi Temple

                     Dharmashtala Temple

                     Mookambika Devi Temple








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